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 . At Home From Church

    THE lilacs lift in generous bloom
      Their plumes of dear old-fashioned flowers;
    Their fragrance fills the still old house
      Where left alone I count the hours.

    High in the apple-trees the bees
      Are humming, busy in the sun,--
    An idle robin cries for rain
      But once or twice and then is done.

    The Sunday-morning quiet holds
      In heavy slumber all the street,
    While from the church, just out of sight
      Behind the elms, comes slow and sweet

    The organ's drone, the voices faint
      That sing the quaint long-meter hymn--
    I somehow feel as if shut out
      From some mysterious temple, dim

    And beautiful with blue and red
      And golden lights from windows high,
    Where angels in the shadows stand
      And earth seems very near the sky.

    The day-dream fades--and so I try
      Again to catch the tune that brings
    No thought of temple nor of priest,
      But only of a voice that sings.

    Sarah Orne Jewett

 . A Country Boy in Winter

    THE wind may blow the snow about,
      For all I care, says Jack,
    And I don't mind how cold it grows,
      For then the ice won't crack.
    Old folks may shiver all day long,
      But I shall never freeze;
    What cares a jolly boy like me
      For winter days like these?

    Far down the long snow-covered hills
      It is such fun to coast,
    So clear the road! the fastest sled
      There is in school I boast.
    The paint is pretty well worn off,
      But then I take the lead;
    A dandy sled's a loiterer,
      And I go in for speed.

    When I go home at supper-time,
      Ki! but my cheeks are red!
    They burn and sting like anything;
      I'm cross until I'm fed.
    You ought to see the biscuit go,
      I am so hungry then;
    And old Aunt Polly says that boys
      Eat twice as much as men.

    There's always something I can do
      To pass the time away;
    The dark comes quick in winter-time--
      A short and stormy day
    And when I give my mind to it,
      It's just as father says,
    I almost do a man's work now,
      And help him many ways.

    I shall be glad when I grow up
      And get all through with school,
    I'll show them by-and-by that I
      Was not meant for a fool.
    I'll take the crops off this old farm,
      I'll do the best I can.
    A jolly boy like me won't be
      A dolt when he's a man.

    I like to hear the old horse neigh
      Just as I come in sight,
    The oxen poke me with their horns
      To get their hay at night.
    Somehow the creatures seem like friends,
      And like to see me come.
    Some fellows talk about New York,
      But I shall stay at home.

    Sarah Orne Jewett

 . The Widow's House

         (At Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)

    WHAT of this house with massive walls
      And small-paned windows, gay with blooms?
    A quaint and ancient aspect falls
      Like pallid sunshine through the rooms.

    Not this new country's rush and haste
      Could breed, one thinks, so still a life;
    Here is the old Moravian home,
      A placid foe of strife.

    For this roof covers, night and day,
      The widowed women poor and old,
    The mated without mates, who say
      Their light is out, their story told.

    To these the many mansions seem
      Dear household fires that cannot die;
    They wait through separation dark
      An endless union by and by.

    Each window has its watcher wan
      To fit the autumn afternoon,
    The dropping poplar leaves, the dream
      Of spring that faded all too soon.

    Upon the highest window-ledge
      A glowing scarlet flower shines down.
    Oh, wistful sisterhood, whose home
      Has sanctified this quiet town!

    Oh, hapless household, gather in
      The tired-hearted and the lone!
    What broken homes, what sundered love,
      What disappointment you have known!

    They count their little wealth of hope
      And spend their waiting days in peace,
    What comfort their poor loneliness
      Must find in every soul's release!

    And when the wailing trombones go
      Along the street before the dead
    In that Moravian custom quaint,
      They smile because a soul has fled.

    Sarah Orne Jewett

 . At Waking

    I HEARD the city bells at morning ring,
    The eastern sky was faintly tinged with light;
    The tired town in heavy sleep lay still,
    And yet I knew it was no longer night.

    One, two, three, four, the bells struck one by one,
    In answering steeples that were far away;
    Who could help wondering what the morn might bring,
    Who waked, like me, between the dark and day?

    Sarah Orne Jewett

 . Missing

    YOU walked beside me, quick and free;
    With lingering touch you grasped my hand;
    Your eyes looked laughingly in mine;
    And now ? I can not understand.

    I long for you, I mourn for you,
    Through all the dark and lonely hours.
    Heavy the weight the pallmen lift,
    And cover silently with flowers.

    Sarah Orne Jewett

 . A Sonnet on Meeting Ralph Waldo Emerson

    RIGHT here, where noisiest, narrowest is the street;
    Where gaudy shops bedeck the crowded way;
    Where idle newsboys in vindictive play
    Dart to and fro with venturesome bare feet;
    Here, where the bulletins from fort and fleet
    Tell gaping readers what's amiss today,
    Where sin bedizens, folly makes too gay,
    And all are victims of their own conceit;
    With these ephemeral insects of an hour
    That war and flutter, as they downward float
    In some pale sunbeam that the spring has brought,
    Where this vain world is revelling in power;
    I met great Emerson, serene, remote,
    Like one adventuring on seas of thought.

    Sarah Orne Jewett

 . Two Musicians


    WHEN one with skillful fingers swift as wind
    Swept to and fro along the glittering keys,
    I said: I wish I were away from these
    Clattering and noisy players! but resigned
    Myself to listen, and I tried to seize
    Upon some meaning in the tune I heard.
    But in my ears the harsh notes rang and whirred;
    It was as if I listened carelessly
    Among a crowd of people coarse and rude,
    Who talked in shrillest tones of grudge or feud,
    Though only seldom one could catch a word.
    Even their voices were a bore to me;
    I pictured their dull faces, till released
    From such companions, when the music ceased.


    But when the second player struck a note
    And fingered softly out a gentle air--
    It was like coming from that turmoil where
    I waited, to a light Venetian boat,
    Idly to glide among the shadows, there
    Where one may drift and dream; and suddenly
    One deep sweet voice sang such a song to me.
    I listened, and I followed far away--
    No music ever sent me so astray,--
    I never could call back the tale it told,
    But all the world seemed lost, as when, one day,
    I laid me down upon a high cliff's crest,
    Warm with the sunshine, there alone to rest,
    While far below the great waves shoreward rolled.

    Sarah Orne Jewett

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